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Kathy Drayer Wins St. Barnabas' Prestigious Hoppy Award

The award is equivalent to an Employee of the Year recognition.

Kathy Drayer is St. Barnabas Health System’s 2012 Hoppy Award winner. 

The 20-year employee was nominated by her co-workers and selected from more than 620 employees for the honor, which is St. Barnabas’ equivalent of an Employee of the Year.

The Middlesex Township resident is a restorative certified nursing assistant at St. Barnabas Nursing Home and her responsibilities include providing range-of-motion exercises for residents undergoing restorative therapy, entering and updating care plans and providing assistance to nursing units.

“It is a great honor to have been chosen as employee of the year and to join such a prestigious group of individuals,” said Drayer, who is a breast cancer survivor. 

“Maintaining my job and working throughout my chemo sessions is what kept me going and gave me the sense of normalcy when my world seemed to be ending.”

She and her husband, Matthew, have four children and 11 grandchildren. 

She was presented with a trophy and bouquet of roses Jan. 22 by William V. Day, president of St. Barnabas Health System, during the 29th annual Employee Recognition Celebration at St. Barnabas’ Crystal Conservatories. 

Drayer is the 29th person to receive the Hoppy Award, which is inscribed with the words: “Recognized for outstanding loyalty and service to St. Barnabas Health System, fellow employees and the community.” 

The Hoppy Award is named for the late Ralph L. Blessley (1918-1984), a 19-year employee of St. Barnabas Nursing Home. 

Blessley was a former patient of St. Barnabas who was affectionately known as “Hoppy” because a bone disease that left one leg shorter than the other caused him to have an unusual gait. 

Going beyond his duties as a maintenance worker, Hoppy raised plants, built a greenhouse and made tables for patients. He raised $2,300 for St. Barnabas’ annual fund-raising event by selling items he made. During his 19 years of employment, he missed fewer than 10 days of work.

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